C4a anaphylatoxin levels as an indicator of disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Exp Immunol. 1990 May;80(2):167-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.1990.tb05227.x.


The use of a synthetic protease inhibitor, nafamstat mesilate, has enabled reliable estimations of in vivo complement activation to be made in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Elevation of C3a anaphylatoxins was found in two out of 24 patients and elevation of C4a anaphylatoxins was found in 20 out of 24 patients, confirming that complement activation, predominantly by the classical pathway, is a common occurrence in the disease. Significantly higher levels of C4a anaphylatoxin were found in 16 patients, with more aggressive disease requiring supplementary treatment with azathioprine, while the remaining eight patients, with less severe disease, required purely steroid therapy. Very strong associations between elevated C4a anaphylatoxins and raised DNA antibody titres, C1q binding activity and low complement C4 levels were also observed, suggesting that anaphylatoxin measurement may be a sensitive additional method for monitoring disease activity in SLE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood
  • Complement Activation
  • Complement C1q / metabolism
  • Complement C3 / analysis
  • Complement C3a / analysis
  • Complement C4 / analysis
  • Complement C4a / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Male


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Complement C3
  • Complement C4
  • Complement C1q
  • Complement C3a
  • Complement C4a